The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) is moving forward to investigate the charges of campaign finance law violations by the campaign of congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley in connection with Rowland-Gate. The FEC has notified the campaign of Wilson-Foley rival Mike Clark that filed the complaint that it is moving forward.
“[T]he FEC did send the campaign a letter which assigned the complaint a MUR (Matter Under Review) Number,” a Clark campaign official tells The Hanging Shad. “This essentially means the matter is now under their control and is moving through their confidential process.” The complaint centers around former Gov. John Rowland “advising” the Wilson-Foley campaign as a volunteer while simultaneously being paid as a “consultant” by Wilson-Foley’s husband, businessman Brian Foley.
Congressional candidate Mark Greenberg has said Rowland approached about a similar arrangement back in 2010. Greenberg says Rowland offered campaign help as a “volunteer” but then be paid by Greenberg’s nonprofit animal shelter. Greenberg says he declined the offer. Rowland says no such offered was made. The Greenberg allegations are part of the Clark campaign complaint.
Meanwhile, the two most prominent radio stations in Connecticut have become part of the controversy. The excellent show “Where We Live” on WNPR, hosted by the incomparable John Dankosky, was stiffed by Wilson-Foley because she feared questions about Rowland. Dankosky says campaign chief strategist Chris Healy told him they were cancelling the scheduled appearance on Dankosky’s show after hearing the station promo for it mentioning the Rowland controversy. “He said that she wants to talk about the issues, not about Rowland. But they knew full well that all topics were on the table, including the Rowland connection,” Dankosky said. “How do I know? They booked the show with us on 5/11 – more than three weeks after your [Register Citizen’s 5th district race blog] initial stories on Rowland’s connection to the campaign, and a two full weeks after details of her husband’s dealings with Rowland became public.” Colin McEnroe has a take on this as well.
Does Healy/Wilson-Foley really expect that they won’t be asked about the Rowland connection for the rest of the campaign? Wilson-Foley seeks the Republican party endorsement Friday night. If she wins it or gets the 15 percent needed to automatically force a primary, they better lose that condition that she’ll only appear in the media if the big elephant in room isn’t asked about. Either that or it will be a very-quiet campaign for them the rest of the way.
The other shocking part of the story is WTIC-AM radio. Bob Steele must be rolling over in his grave. The station of record for New England has done serious, possibly irreparable damage to its reputation. Rowland hosts the afternoon drive show on WTIC-AM. Before the truth about his relationship with the Wilson-Foley campaign started to trickle out, Rowland was bashing her competition—the trashing of Wilson-Foley rival state Sen. Andrew Roraback is well documented.
So what do station officials do in light of the fact that their ratings-getting political show host Rowland is the subject of two complaints to the FEC? First, they say Rowland won’t talk about the race in question. That’s a disservice to the listeners. Don’t they pay Rowland to talk about all things political? Second—and most egregious—the station’s news department has been directed to not do a single story about the Rowland scandal. Sure, it would be very awkward if it did. That’s why they should have taken Rowland off the air until things were settled. But again, ratings trumps ethics at the state’s heritage radio station.